The Stars Come Out For Jordan

In this week’s digital edition of Travel Courier, Ian Stalker reports that Jordanian tourist authorities hope some star power will help boost tourism to a country found in a region where the news often ranges from gloomy to grim.

Malia Asfour, director of the Jordan Tourism Board, North America, is welcoming the new Matt Damon movie The Martian, which was largely filmed in Jordan, hoping that it will refocus attention on a country that’s remained calm even as violence rages in much of the region, including bordering Iraq and Syria.

Asfour concedes ongoing news reports about violence in the area hampers Jordan’s tourism, while adding it shouldn’t.

“The media usually blankets the region with one brush stroke,” she insists. “What people do not realize is that Jordan is the peacemaker in the region and the land of refuge, accepting refugees from the region, mainly Syria, on a daily basis. It is sad that we are victims of misperception and no amount of education can overcome the power of sensationalism from the media.

“I believe if people dig deeper, they will learn that Jordan is one of the most hospitable countries in the world and travellers are welcomed,” she told Travel Courier.

Last year saw the number of Canadians visiting Jordan rise from 2013’s number, but this year has seen a drop, other than a 22% increase in July.

The tourist board has been conducting joint marketing campaigns with tour operator partners and Asfour hopes this year’s Canadian numbers will rebound and top 2014’s.

For the full story, check out this week’s digital edition of Travel Courier by clicking here.